How Long Should Your Sentences Be in Your Essay

essay writingWhile the length of a college paper is usually determined by the requirements, defining the ideal sentence length might cause some hesitation – “How to make my essay look well-balanced?”. Sentences, which are too short, might look choppy, lacking, and even empty. At the same time, it is important not to bore the reader with wordiness of long sentences. On the other hand, when a text consists of same-length sentences, it might seem no less boring than the wordy type. This is why it is important to find the balance and stick to the average number of words, while practicing variety. Below is some information on the optimal length of sentences in academic writing.

In creative writing and copywriting, the length matters a lot — the shorter is the better. Academic writing is more inclined to follow the rules and stick to the recommended structure. It is more formal, as compared to other types of text. In academic writing, both readability and credibility play equally important roles, and there should be balance between the two. Sentences should be both not too short and not too lengthy. Experts recommend using sentences that consist of 15 to 20 words in academic papers. They believe it is the optimal length that will make the text easily readable and its components informative.

What should be done to the sentences, which are longer than they should be? For a start, cutting out the unnecessary information might help. Students often try to fill in the empty spaces with meaningless words, in order to comply with their assignment’s length requirements. While this creates an illusion of a thoroughly researched paper, professors usually know better — they make conclusions based on the content’s quality, not length. If the sentences have no words to spare, they will look too overloaded with information. In this case, they should be split into smaller ones.

There is an opinion that a shorter sentence will always deliver a clear message, and it would be hard to misunderstand it. Clarity and brevity are indeed the author’s best assistants. However, sentences that contain just a few words will hurt the overall perception of the text by the reader. They will look as though they are unfinished or impaired. Often, professors will regard the usage of overly short sentences as the indicator of the student’s academic level insufficiency. The best solution to this problem would be to connect several few-word sentences with each other by the means of conjunctions or proper punctuation.

The length of sentences, which seems like a minor issue, might pose a real danger to the quality of an academic text. It may distort the overall perception of the paper. Too short sentences will look as if the writing lacks seriousness and expertise, while the super-extended ones might be incomprehensible or forgettable. It is important to keep balance and keep the average number of words in sentences between 15 and 20. If some sentences somewhat exceed this limit, it will be absolutely okay too, as diversity in the academic texts is welcome.

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